According to Rachels, the United States has faced many terrorist attacks over the years, and this threatens national security extremely. The government together with all other security stakeholders have formulated strategies to defeat terrorism. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, it became abundantly clear to the United States government that terrorism was their biggest security threat. Rachels continues to emphasize that national security stakeholders should be careful not to employ torture while dealing with terror suspects. It is a fact that, torture is an act that causes severe pain to an individual. Furthermore, torture is a violation of basic human rights, and the United States government has continuously used it to punish and interrogate terror suspects. Rachels opposes the use of torture due to its exceptionally high levels of inefficiency and due to the risk of increased levels of torture in the end (Rachels, 183).
The United States of America has always justified its reasons for going to war with terror states and terror suspects. This war has led to the controversial topic of torture that prisoners of war and terrorism face. Many arguments have arisen over the legality of torture, the moral justification, and the actions that constitute torture. Currently in the war against terror, all the individuals who participate in the war get permission to engage in war without any justifications. They are free to take whatever action they find necessary to fight terrorism without any limitations. These terrorists are in many cases extremists, and they do not fear death or extreme pain. Therefore, new ways such as torture are necessary to conquer these fearless enemies. The use of torture to conquer these enemies in the war against terror is a serious disrespect and infringement of human rights. During the Geneva Convention, a panel of investigators discovered that the United States had been violating laws that protect human beings during interrogations (Rachels, 30).
People who have survived torture relay horrifying tales of their experience in captivity. Many undergo serious physical, mental, and psychological trauma even after their ordeal. Al Qaeda suspects such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed have gone through torture in the hands of interrogators, many of whom are military men. These terror suspects have no access to basic needs such as food, shelter, light, water, and clothing. They may also be exposed to extremely cold or hot environments and at times even forced to place themselves in uncomfortable positions. The United States government detains terror suspects and tortures them in detention camps such as Guantanamo Bay. Despite these facts, the government has continually defended its actions claiming that there are no violations of international law while treating detainees (Rachels, 190).
National security continues to claim that it is its responsibility to ensure that citizens at home and abroad are safe from any form of danger. Ordinary citizens are slowly been made to believe that torture is a normal process that ensures effective results. They slowly convince them that torture and other violations are all a means of ensuring and maintaining security. Rachels hopes that the government and all security stakeholders will quickly realise that the use of torture in the war against terror is also an act of terrorism. He continues to emphasize that social justice is an essential tool for the well-being of society. Rachels tries to investigate the legal and ethical implications due to the misconduct of the military in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib with the use of torture. It is a fact that, when a government agrees to employ torture, it losses its moral standing. Any government that uses torture to obtain information is not any different from the terrorists who cause serious harm. However, Rachels admits that the government of the United States has rightfully used torture in extreme cases. This is in cases where a suspect has vital information that could prevent deadly events from happening. Despite these facts, he continues to argue that the problem comes up when it becomes extremely difficult to determine when not to use torture (Rachels, 191).
The war on terrorism is tremendously significant since it ensures that citizens both at home and abroad are living in a safe environment. This war should consider the human rights of all individuals and ensure that they uphold ethics and morality. The government should ensure that suspects of terror acts are not tortured in the attempt of getting information. The government should put in place policies and strategies to deal with all types of suspects. The government should ensure that they appropriately enforce the law against torture while ensuring that they handle extremely dangerous cases properly. The government should also make it abundantly clear to the public that the war on terrorism does not require the use of torture. The government and all security stakeholders should also remember that we could not win wars by always fighting but rather with peaceful measures.
Rachels, James. The right thing to do: Basic readings in moral philosophy. New York: McGraw-hill, 2007.